Disclaimer: Nothing related to Umineko is mine. This includes Visual Novel, anime, manga, and the ever-so popular 'Pony Theory', which this fic is largely based on, deviating from it ever so slightly (more details on this at the end). And also, there will be lyrics from other Disney songs interweaved into this, and they don't belong to me either. Neither does a sad little quote from the Fergie song "Big Girls Don't Cry" at the end. Beato might be a bit OOC in this.
Do fairy tales come true? Does Prince Charming really exist? When I was a little girl, I believed he did. After all, I lived locked up in a 'tower' of sorts—the Kuwadorian. I had Ronove and Teacher by my side, and no one else. Shannon eventually became my playmate, though she was a little bit older than me and only came by once a month. Together, on the days I wasn't training to be a witch, we would act out the fairy tales from my book. She would be the handsome prince coming to rescue me, and I would play the role I have been playing all my life: The role of the princess locked away in her tower, waiting to be rescued not because she wasn't capable of saving herself, but because she was scared—scared of what awaited her on the outside.
My purpose in life was to replace the role of the woman who had once lived there—I was to be groomed to be Kinzo's plaything, something that neither my Teacher nor Ronove knew about. But like them, I didn't realize this until years later. Back then, he was like a grandfather to me. Even so, this did not stop me from referring to him as the evil ogre who wanted to marry me and kept me locked up. I didn't really mean this, of course; back then, Shannon and I were just playing our silly games. But I never knew just how true that was.
I would dream of fleeing from Kuwadorian, from Rokkenjima, from all of this...but I didn't know how I was going to escape. I only knew how to dream. And dream I did. If I wasn't the princess, then I was the bird kept locked away in a gilded cage, singing a sorrowful song while dreaming of what the world on the outside must be like, longing to fly away.
Have faith in your dreams and someday
Your rainbow will come smiling through
No matter how your heart is grieving
If you keep on believing
The dream that you wish will come true
As I grew older, my training was close to becoming complete. I had mastered many spells and Teacher said she just might make me her successor...during the occasions she wasn't screaming at me for going a bit too far with my magic, that is. But it was pretty funny to make her swim in chocolate just to get a reaction out of her. Even into my pre-teens, I was full of mischief and youthful abandon. I still am. All I can do is just list it off as part of who I am.
I was at the age many girls are when they begin to discover who they are when I met him. It started rather innocent; Shannon had come over one day for us to have some tea (by that time, we had outgrown playing make-believe) and she mentioned an upcoming Ushiromiya family reunion. Now she had talked about the various people in the family many times, and I had always been curious about them. I never really had any true human contact apart from the few people that were allowed to see me. And so I asked her if we could switch places—I would take on her form and go to the reunion while she stayed behind at Kuwadorian.
I wasn't sure just how easy I'd be able to pull it off—it was my first experience with shape-shifting magic, so I knew I wouldn't get it completely right, and I didn't. I managed to change my hair colour and eye colour, but not my original form. Shannon was more 'blessed' than I had been (I wouldn't blossom for another two years), but I was tall for my age, so I could reasonably pass off as a sixteen-year-old maid. And so while she played the role of the 'pauper', I went off to play the role of the 'prince'.
I was surprised no one saw through my disguise; they all thought I looked reasonably close to Shannon. I wasn't too close with them, I must admit—they were all but strangers to me. I did feel myself developing something of a bond with the young girl, Maria, but I told myself not to get too close to anyone, especially not within Kinzo's view if he were to see through my scheme.
And then...he came. The boy that would change the fate of his family...and mine. His name was Ushiromiya Battler. When he came walking through the door with his family apologizing for being late, I knew there was something special about him. He had a sort of charm from the fairy tales I loved to read when I was younger...almost like the prince I had dreamed of.
I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream
I know you, the gleam in your eyes is so familiar a gleam
Yet I know it's true that visions are seldom all they seem
But if I know you, I know what you'll do
You'll love me at once, the way you did once upon a dream
Battler was really funny, to say the least. When he saw me for the first time, he had this expression on his face that can only be described as, well, dopey. He followed me around like a lost puppy, saying all sorts of funny things to me that made me laugh. He would sing about how he was my Prince Charming come to rescue me from my tower, among other things. They were so silly, yet a part of me felt flattered to hear him say all this.
Maybe the reason why I believed what he said was because I wanted to believe him. I was getting sick of living in Kuwadorian. I wanted to see what was beyond Rokkenjima. And so I would ask him to tell me more of what the outside world was like. He would take me for walks down on the beach while his cousins played together and tell me of all sorts of things I had never heard of before: He would tell me of roller coasters (which he personally detested but sounded amazing to me), of zoos, and of movie theatres. This all sounded very fascinating to me, like a magical world out of a fairytale.
A whole new world, a dazzling place I never knew
But when I'm way up here, it's crystal clear
That now I'm in a whole new world with you
The time we spent together truly made me feel happy and alive...like there was more to life than just Kuwadorian. I loved the games we played—in fact, he was the one who taught me about chess, ironically enough. And I would beat him in every single round and gloat over it. This did not stop him from telling me I was the most beautiful girl in the entire universe, and using vaguely botched English phrases, which I would roll my eyes at and tease him over.
When the time came for him to leave, I felt truly saddened, not just because the one person I actually had feelings for would be leaving me, but also because I would have to go back to Kuwadorian. But I was thankful for the time I got to spend outside of that prison. I said goodbye to him at the docks. Before he followed after his family into the boat, he kissed my fingers and said something I have never forgotten:
"I'll be back. See you again. I'll come to greet you riding on a white horse."
Silly, silly me, I actually believed him. Foolish, stupid naive me, I thought he really meant what he said. I watched after him as his family took off on the boat, sailing into the sunset. I returned to Kuwadorian and shifted back into my real form while giving Shannon her true form in return. Teacher had known all along and gave me my deserved lecture, but said the one thing preventing her from going over and switching Shannon and me back was the thought that maybe I should get out for once. She thought it would be good for me to be able to leave for just a little while, as long as this remained our little secret.
I went back to my training after that, but I never forgot Battler's promise. Everyday, I repeated the same mantra to myself: One day, Battler will return to me. One day, he will come back and whisk me away from Kuwadorian...off to the world of roller coasters, zoos, and cinemas.
Someday my prince will come
Someday we'll meet again
And away to his castle we'll go
To be happy forever, I know
After a while, I began to truly believe this. I believed in it so much, in fact, that one day I was foolish enough to write it down in my diary. It had been filled with thoughts of Battler before, but on this day, I wrote down: I am beginning to hate this place. I feel like a bird trapped in a cage—always watching the outside world, longing to fly away. Well, one day, I am going to fly away. I'm gonna escape this prison and do all the things he told me about—I'm gonna ride a rollercoaster. I'm gonna go to a zoo. And I'm gonna see a movie with him. Yes, when Battler comes back to Rokkenjima, I am going to escape and break free with his help. He will sweep me off my feet and carry me away on his white horse and we will live happily ever after.
To this day, I wish I never wrote any of that in my diary. Then again, there was no way I could have known that Kinzo would arrive the next day to bring Shannon over for a play date, or that he would be listening as I showed Shannon what I had written and read it out loud to her, or that he would come back later that night, trick me into following him down to the basement, and...
I am sincerely thankful I managed to keep my maidenhood. What I am not thankful for is what happened instead. He started out okay...at first. He made the usual comment on how I was growing into a real woman (which he seemed to talk about a lot lately)...but the look of lust in his eyes as he spoke did not make me feel safe in the slightest. I should've taken that as a sign things were about to go horribly wrong and run away, but being the silly, foolish, naive girl I was then, I followed him right on down to the basement. And when we got there...
I repeat, I kept my maidenhood. But just because I got to keep one thing does not mean I didn't lose another: My spirit. I began to ask why he wanted me down here. He replied by telling me he knew of what I had said to Shannon. He had been listening to us the entire time. And he was not happy. With a look of malice in his eyes, he said he was going to make sure I would never escape. I tried running away, but he grabbed me by both of my arms and dragged me towards him. His grip grew tighter and the look of lust in his eyes was replaced with a look of pure rage. I struggled and tried to get out of his grasp. I tried telling him he was hurting me, but it soon became clear that's what he was trying to do. He pulled one of my arms towards him, placed both hands around it, and before I even had a chance to fight, I heard a sickening crack.
My arm was broken. I figured that out long before the pain set in. I was too shocked to cry. I couldn't believe someone whom I had always viewed as my grandfather was even capable of doing this. Then he grabbed my other arm and just like that, it too was broken. As usual, I was playing the role of the bird trapped in the cage...this time, the bird whose owner broke its wings to prevent it from ever flying away.
All this time, I had secretly been praying for Battler to come in on his white horse and rescue me from this tyrant. But from the moment Kinzo dropped me and I fell down onto the floor, from the moment I looked up and saw the lust in his eyes coming back into full view, I knew he wasn't coming. He had left me behind and forgotten all about me.
My prince was never going to come rescue me. Teacher came just in time—she came just as the lust in Kinzo's eyes set in. She got him out of there before he could do anything else to me. She and Ronove listened to my pleas to get me out of there, and they obeyed.
But my prince never came. And when he finally did return...he had forgotten all about me. Well, no matter. Never again will I fall for his charm...I am trying very hard not to fall for it again...yet I cannot stop myself. What's wrong with me?
If there's a prize for rotten judgment, I guess I've already won that
No man is worth the aggravation
That's ancient history, been there, done that
My name is Beatrice the Golden. And I believe in witches. But I do not believe in Prince Charming. Witches are real and true. They exist as long as love exists.
But Prince Charming is just a fairy tale.
Fairy tales don't always have a happy ending, do they?
A/N: Basically, the 'Pony Theory' is as described in the oneshot: Beato switched places with Shannon at a family meeting six years ago, Battler promised to come back to Beato on a white horse, and never did because of his falling-out with his family, which was his sin. And if you're wondering what liberty I took with the theory...part of the theory goes that Kinzo discovered Beato's plan to escape and assaulted her sexually, which caused her to flee. I considered it, but in the end I decided to go with him breaking her arms because I wanted to create an image of a bird in a cage having its wings broken to prevent it from ever flying away again—and of course, Beato is compared to a bird trapped in a cage never allowed to fly away and it is because of her imprisonment that she ultimately does fly away.
I don't know if this (or elements of it) will ultimately end up in my other Umineko fanfic, but I might consider it.